Thoughts on Filet Knives??? Pressed into fighting role that is.....


August 7, 2008, 07:27 PM
I was cleaning some assorted gun/knife related "stuff" out of my "stuff" closet the other day and ran across my filet knife. I only own one and it doesn't see that much use anymore. I only go fishing once or twice a year at best these days. But it hangs there in the back of that walkin closet year round. I pulled it out and took a look at it the other day and got to thinking about the filet knife if pressed into a fighting role.

It seems like it would be an ugly, ugly thing. What I came up with off the top of my head:


Long thin blade, potential for depth of penetration (mine has a roughly 6" blade)
Wicked sharp
Flexible blade, potential to slip (easier?) between ribs/bone structures


Thin blade, potential for breakage (though most will flex quite well)
No handguard on most

Don't know...........Not necessarily a weapon of choice, but not something I'd feel underarmed with compared to other knives. But if ever attacked by an irate fellow in a bass boat.........:D.

What say you bladed weapon gurus??

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August 7, 2008, 07:44 PM
A college friend working as a bouncer was stabbed with a light flexible knife while working at a night club. If his rib didn't deflect the steak knife blade the outcome might have been a lot different. After a few days in hospital he went home sore but alive.

August 7, 2008, 07:49 PM
Another thought I had after posting this.

less blade mass for slashing.

Seems like primarly a "sticking contest" as my college fencing coach liked to say.

August 7, 2008, 08:25 PM
If thats all you got, better to have a long stick, and a 357 cant be beat

August 7, 2008, 09:45 PM
Too flexible to depend on. Might work.

Rey B
August 7, 2008, 09:53 PM
Had the misfortune to see one in action once. As a slicing knife it is scary, think multiple hundreds of stitches. :uhoh: I did my best to be a ninja and vacated the area. And by ninja I mean invisible not bad boy. :eek:

August 7, 2008, 11:44 PM
If you miss a rib and slide between a couple of them it could do significant organ damage. OTOH, the ribcage is designed to keep things away from the organs within it and that knife might bend or kink and stop on a rib instead of pushing them apart enough to access a vital organ.

See Carl's story about the 2 guys by the river for a murder involving a fillet knife.

August 8, 2008, 12:32 AM
I've got a scar in my sternum that can attest to the fact that they break easily (thank god).

The Tourist
August 8, 2008, 12:35 AM
Very interesting stuff.

August 8, 2008, 01:16 AM
Well, Rapala does make a saltwater version (8" curved blade).

Not a lot of flex in that blade.

Of course, you probably have something that's roughly equivalent hiding in your kitchen knife block.

The really slim & slender bendy/flexy ones? Nah. It would have to be pretty "last resort" to try one of those. And you'd want to try not to engage the bony areas. And you'd have to use an inverted (thumb cap) grip to keep your hand from sliding up the blade.

Heck, I think I'd prefer my 1" thick plastic yardstick. At least I wouldn't be at risk of slicing my own tendons.

August 8, 2008, 02:12 AM
Probably the filet knife that most of us are familiar with is the wooden-handled, thin-bladed knife marketed as a Rapala and manufactured by Marttini of Finland. These have very flexible blades and tapering handles, so are really not suited for a defensive role; with no guard, the chance of your hand sliding up the blade during a thrust is pretty high.

Penetration would be good through most materials, and probably through a leather jacket, even. The blade would be prone to snapping off or folding over if bone were encountered; dense, thick human bones are a different proposition entirely from soft fish bones, so the chance of the blade gliding past the bone instead of hanging in it are slim.

Not really anyone's idea of a defensive weapon, but if you had to use one, an upward thrust into the solar plexus area, below the ribcage, would probably prove to be most effective.

The Tourist
August 8, 2008, 02:17 AM
Penetration...probably through a leather jacket, even

Let me comment on that misconception.

I was never in a knife fight, but having said that I never saw a slash mark on any bro's jacket, ever.

I've seen them shredded from the ol' Albuquerque to Juarez slide for life, but never knife or glass slashes.

August 8, 2008, 05:34 AM
Let me comment on that misconception.

I was never in a knife fight, but having said that I never saw a slash mark on any bro's jacket, ever.

I wasn't referring to a slash, but a thrust or stab, which is an entirely different type of attack. I hope no one thinks I envision standing there fencing with the guy? As I said, it's probable, but not 100% certain, that a Marttini-made filet knife can pierce the leather of a jacket and into the flesh underneath it. It's easy enough to test in a safe environment.

Love the colorful jargon, by the way. ;)

The Tourist
August 9, 2008, 11:12 AM
it's probable, but not 100% certain, that a Marttini-made filet knife can pierce the leather of a jacket

No, it's not probable.

One thing bikers like to do is tell stories and tall tales over cool drinks. And they scuffle, with each other and townies.

A good story about knife fighting would have hit the taverns like a moon landing.

Frankly, there is so much BS about bikers that even I have trouble discerning some of the claims. Last night my wife, my SIL and I went to a local Perkins, and I saw three real deal modified Harleys in the lot. As we were seated, I saw that in fact the guys were the true thingie, and I went over to shake some hands.

Yeah, joking, a minor skirmish of "the gunfighter syndrome" until they realized I was a real deal. Then some serious comments on coming back from South Dakota early and the tense new posture of law enforcement. They were continueing their vacation elsewhere.

But here's my point, and it will always be my point in a hobbyist forum. Guys like this have no reason to spin yarns when they form an opinion amongst themselves. They don't seek false bravado. One of the guys said he traveled to Sturgis for, "Girls and beer," and he left after seeing rows of LEOs on a road shoulder pulling into town. He came to party, not to fight.

I never saw a knife fight. And if one of your friends claims he poked a biker with a fillet knife, he's lying. First, there is no anecdotal tales of the event. Two, he's still alive.

August 9, 2008, 12:48 PM
Maybe I'm missing something here, maybe more was shared via PM's or something, but where was there a claim that a friend had poked a biker with a filet knife? :confused:

What I saw was that there was a probability that a leather jacket could be pierced by a thin bladed filet knife. There are other leather jackets beyond biker leathers too ya know. ;)

Take a step back and gain some perspective my friend.

August 9, 2008, 02:10 PM
I've never been in a knifefight either, nor seen one.

However, when I think of using a filet knife as a weapon, I see it used the way similar type knifes are used in kung-fu movies, held like an icepick, with the edge out along the forearm. That way the edge follow the movement of the fist, so it's used as a slashing weapon by moving the fist fast over the target area, for example an arm, a leg, shoulder, or throat.

That way, the flexibility isn't a negative factor, since the edge is dragged through the target, not pushed through it. And the thin sharp blade should be able to cut through with ease that way.

If that would work in reality, I really dont know. But that's the way I could see it used with any practicality.

The Tourist
August 9, 2008, 02:13 PM
I did it for a reason. We often seem to get bogged down in fantasy scenarios and stories about "a friend of a friend," or "my uncle returning form Vietnam."

The point is that knife fighting almost never happens. Oh, I'll admit that knife attacks can exist. But never this "WestSide Story" nonsense about switchblades and 'stepping into the light.' That is the fancy of authors who want to sell books. Let's nip that.

Practicalbob opined a situation. That situation never happens. The odds of a coho salmon fisherman tangling with a guy in a leather jacket is comical to the extreme. I've never even heard anyone brag about when they were drunk.

This is "The High Road," remember. Not only should we debate in a civilized manner but the trash war stories, conjectures, and undocumented urban legends have no place here, as well.

If a fillet knife has punctured a leather jacket, then report it. If you had a dream about it, keep it to yourself.

Edit: I didn't plan this, but a good friend of mine, a talented tinker who sharpens hospital equipment just posted this in another forum. It deals with the nonsense of knife fighting:

"Some of those though are outright blow hards and are best just walked away from. Leave your money if you must but it's better not to listen to people that really are more into comic book cr.... stuff."

It's not just me, guys, it's everyone who seriously has a career in cutlery.

August 9, 2008, 05:01 PM
The original poster requested an opinion as to the practicality of a filet knife as a weapon, presumably an expedient weapon to be used when nothing else was available. The sort of knife that you might have in a kitchen drawer, for example.

I gave an opinion based on my personal knowledge of the knife type described. Of the three basic attacks of which a knife is capable (slash, thrust, chop) the filet knife is only efficient at the first two, and of those two, the thrust is by far the most lethal. I gave advice based on that criteria, noting that the delicate nature of the filet knife would mean thrusting at soft targets and speculated about its ability to pierce leather, which is a popular clothing material.

I didn't mention bikers, as I didn't envision an Izaak Walton vs. James Dean scenario. Bikers aren't the only people who wear leather jackets, and biker jackets aren't the only style of leather jacket out there.

In any event, if the THR forum is a closed shop where only senior members are encouraged to post, I'll take the hint.

The Tourist
August 9, 2008, 06:19 PM
Piraticalbob, if it seems I singled you out, don't worry. You were not the purpose or target of the rant.

But as you know, a few of us older members are not exactly thrilled with the style and content we see here lately. When you have to initiate a thread called, "Think before typing," then things are off the trolley.

And frankly, I'm sick of hearing about all baseless cross-talk about knives as weapons. I figure about 90% of the populace would run screaming into the night if a determined knife-wielder even showed his shadow.

You think I'm kidding? About +/-ten days ago I wanted to start a new charity. I had an idea, and I bounced it off one of the moderators--who I will protect by not identifying.

I expected the mod to tweak my idea and give me pointers for another success. He was polite, but direct, and warned me in a PM (and I cut and pasted it), "Those guys are mostly posers."

So now folks tread into an area where I have some expertise, that being knives and leather jackets. I didn't spin you an "Easy Rider" romp, I told you the truth. It don't happen.

Don't get mad at me for having my fill. Let's ask for some facts. Have you ever heard of a fillet knife going through a leather jacket, and pointedly, why do you want to know?

August 9, 2008, 06:27 PM
Well, I've never been in a knife fight, never seen a knife fight. Have been stabbed twice tho'. Not in knife fights, that implies two fellas standing toe to toe, each a slicing at each other. Had I known the other fella was holding a knife I wouldn't have been close enough for it to have mattered. Tho' I've spent enough time in establishments that cater to motorsyslists of the leather fashion leaning, neither of those times occurred in such a place. The fillet knife happened in a small bar at the hands of a drunken fraternity brat. I'll be honest, I started the fight, I usually did. Why was he carrying a Rapela fillet knife? Couldn't tell you, I didn't ask. I just stood there with a dumb look on my face while his friends pulled him out the door. It didn't pierce my leather jacket, my jacket was hanging over the back of my chair. It did pierce my Iron Maiden "Maiden Japan" T-shirt tho. In the ER they removed a 3/4" tip of steel that had bent almost like a fishhook but didn't manage to make it thru the sternum. You'd think I would have learned my lesson that night. Wish I would have been smarter in my younger years.

The Tourist
August 9, 2008, 06:35 PM
Okie, we all wish we had been smarter in our young years. I cannot speak to the past, but I can decide on my future. And I didn't come to this idea yesterday noon. It's been bothering me.

Sometimes I skim the titles of the posts and simply shake my head. At least the idea of carrying a fillet knife made me chuckle. If I ever get a Rapela pulled on me, my first question will be, "What's your handle on THR?"

August 9, 2008, 06:40 PM
I think of this way, most of my sins have been repaid, most, and I'm still working on the one's that remain. Hopefully I'll be able to stick around until I have an even slate again.

And my vote goes for "tacticalfillet"

The Tourist
August 9, 2008, 06:57 PM
I was thinking that these guys could carry fillet knives for "sushicide."

"Back up buddy, I have a fillet knife here, and I know how to make dinner with it..."

"Now I know what you're thinking. Did he fillet five, or was it six? And I have to admit that in all of the deboning I kind of lost track, myself. But you have to ask yourself, do I reel lucky? Well, do ya' stink-bait?"

August 9, 2008, 07:27 PM
At least the idea of carrying a fillet knife made me chuckle. If I ever get a Rapela pulled on me, my first question will be, "What's your handle on THR?"

And you appear to have missed the entire point of the thread.........

Not advocating carrying one as a defensive weapon. Just musing on it's positive and negative attributes should it ever have to be pressed into service to save someone's sorry hide.

But, lest this thread devolve into yet another urinating contest as it appears not to meet your standards, I request mods simply close it.

The Tourist
August 9, 2008, 07:49 PM
you appear to have missed the entire point of the thread

Oh, no, I unerstand it quite clearly.

You're sitting around a proud THR member, when suddenly you're attacked by an aggressor, who may or may not be wearing a leather jacket.

You reach into your Armani suit, frantically searching for a weapon. Luckily you find a Rapala fillet knife. (How a fish knife got into your Armani is moot--the OP never said.)

At some point, the knife may or may not be broken. You may or may not decide to slash and/or use the fish knife to puncture the said heretofore leather and/or not jacket.

And you criticize me?

August 9, 2008, 07:51 PM
I am the OP, I don't wear Armani. I was clear in the OP that this was just theoretical musing on my part.

The urinating contest began around post 12.

Mods please close.......

The Tourist
August 9, 2008, 08:00 PM
just theoretical musing

Bingo, that's my point. Some of these scenario threads slip too far from reality.

Considering this country has 300 million people and billions of pounds of snack foods, it is possible that someone, somewhere was killed with a half of a bag of Doritos.

Do you really think we should devote an entire thread to the subject of mayhem caused by trans fat assaults?

August 9, 2008, 08:01 PM
Mods please close. Doesn't meet the Tourist's high standards.

The Tourist
August 9, 2008, 08:04 PM
Yes, that is correct, it's a silly debate.

Rantingredneck, you may have the final word in rebuttal.

August 9, 2008, 11:04 PM
Actually, today, I will have the final word.

You know, in my time I've started a few threads that started with a "what if" clause. Some of them were pretty naive by the standards of some of the respondents.

I rolled with them anyway, because I learned something from the interchange.

Some times I've been the respondent myself, and some of those times I've been a bit of a smart alec in answering.

Somehow, the smartness and jibes and digs never conveyed the enlightenment I intended.

Honing knowledge is a little like honing steel: a heavy hand tends to work against what you're trying to accomplish.

Use a gentle hand. Let the stone do the work.

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